Sexy Kowa Six
Originally uploaded by mfophotos.
For some time I have wanted a medium format SLR with a 6x6 cm format with the ergonomics of a Hasselblad, not the Kiev 60 tank that I have had for a number of years. Last year, Marjorie saw a Hasselblad 501CM at Big George's and with some trading, and a generous discount, she soon was the owner of one of the best systems available. I, being cheap, or at least bargain-oriented, wanted a similar camera, but with affordable lenses. I love twin-lens reflex cameras, but they can be fiddly, and hard to find the appropriate filters, etc. In addition, they generally suck at doing close-ups.
So, even though I have a Mamiya 645E, and Pentax 6x7, I really wanted a better square format camera to replace the Kiev 60. My obvious choice, going the non-Hasselblad route, would have been a Bronica SQ series. Expandable, reliable system with different backs, prisms, etc. Not too expensive, either. I looked at KEH and saw I could put a kit together for less than $400.
I also saw how some people really liked the Kowa Six and Kowa 66 cameras. Their relative simplicity, nice ergonomics, well-regarded optics, and beauty intrigued me. Then, I saw one on ebay with no bids for $149.00! I put on a bid, and fully expected to be outbid. There were no other bidders. Within a few days, I had the camera in my hands, complete with a manual (yay!) and lens cap.
The film spools through inside like a Rolleiflex, as the back is not detachable. But it also allows one to use 220 and 120. Great option!
I borrowed Marjorie's Hasselblad strap, and took the camera out yesterday. It was bitterly cold when the wind was blowing. The waist-level viewfinder and beefy controls allowed me to use the camera with golves on and not frost up the viewfinder. Wonderful backwards images appeared in my ground-glass screen. I shot a roll of Tri-X that came with the camera.